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Berit Ramstad Skoyles: Coughing and skiing don’t mix well

At this point in my skiing career, most of my ski meets blend into each other and I usually forget which race was which year.

There are always some meets that stick out more than others, like the State Championship meet, Section meets, meets when I place first, and meets when I don’t do as well as I’d hoped.

For the past month or so, I have coughed more than my share. I have been unable to smell things and I slightly resemble a chain smoker. These symptoms are extremely undesirable when skiing a pursuit race in frigid temperatures. Being sick is no fun.

This past Monday, the Detroit Lakes ski team raced a 10k pursuit race in Little Falls. Unlike the Detroit Lakes invite, Little Falls holds the classic race in the morning and then the skate race in the afternoon. This allows the skiers some time to rest between races, which in my case only adds more nervousness to my mind.

On Monday, during the classic race I started out well. Although I made my way up the steep inclines while coughing my lungs out, I made it through the race.

Coaches from other teams tried to encourage me up the hills through my coughing fits. While it helped me to get up the hills, I was still coughing like crazy.

After placing fourth in the classic race I tried to have conversations with some friends, but I could barely manage to say more than a couple of words. In between coughs all I could muster was a few words to try and get my point across.

Waiting for my skate race to start was pure agony. Skating is most definitely not my strong suit and I knew that I wasn’t going to have the best race. With only 15 minutes to race time I tried to prepare myself for the grueling race ahead.

I coughed my way through the countdown. It was a rough start. Instead of smoothly going into the skate technique my ski caught on some loose snow and I ended up skiing the first few strides with the classic technique.

Once I regained my balance I skated to the woods. Within just 1k from the start I was forced to double poll my way down hills and across the flats because I couldn’t stay upright.

Unsurprisingly, it is rather hard to maintain a good skate technique while doubled over.

Even though I couldn’t breathe and I coughed my way up and down the hills, I finished in eighth place. It definitely wasn’t one of my favorite races, but placing eighth against good competitors wasn’t the worst thing either.

I can’t wait to see what I can do when I am healthy.

Berit Ramstad Skoyles is a junior at DLHS.